Top Story: The New iPad
The iPad is coming. What? You thought it was already here? Well, technically we’ve had a couple versions. But as was unveiled this week, the new iPad 3 will simply be called iPad. Clever. But was the simplistic new name the biggest surprised about the brand new iPad? While there are some pretty cool features coming with the new version, it may not be enough to get you standing in line or waking up early to jump on the computer.
So, what’s different? The new iPad will have a 9.7-inch display screen with a “retina display” of 2047 by 1536 pixels, compared with the current model’s 1024 by 768 pixels. This gives the new iPad a higher resolution than any other tablet or laptop on the market and will not only look snazzy, but will also be pretty great for gamers. Another awesome upgrade on this new version is the 5-megapixel camera. Of course, unless you’re the type who carries your iPad around to snap photos, this probably doesn’t mean much to you. Isn’t that what your iPhone is for? It will also be the first iPad to run on 4G wireless networks, if you’re willing to pay a bit more.
Will you be trading your old iPad in for the new version when they hit stores on Friday? The good news is, the new iPad will is selling for the same price as iPad 2 (of course, you can likely get the iPad 2 for a whole lot less now). The bad news is, the third-generation iPad is already sold out for pre-orders, so you’ll have to wait a little bit. As for me, I still have the first edition iPad and think I’ll be waiting for the next one to be announced before I take the plunge again.
Under the Radar: Facebook Timeline for Brands
As of March 30th, the way that brand fan pages will appear on Facebook with change dramatically. Similar to personal pages, brands will now be shown in the new Timeline format featuring a prominent cover photo, enhanced and customizable tabs displayed at the top of the page, the addition of milestones allowing for an interactive display of the brand’s history, and the ability to privately message fans, effectively taking the conversation ‘offline.’
Tool of the Week: Getting Loopt into Green Dot
Before SXSW began this weekend, Loopt was already causing a buzz in the LBS world by getting acquired by Green Dot – a U.S. provider of prepaid debit cards. If this news doesn’t shock you, you are certainly in the minority. There are two major reasons this has come as shocking news to most:
Green Dot Who? If all of a sudden one of the tech giants (Google, Microsoft, Twitter, or even Yahoo) had swept in and bought up the nearly seven year-old location-based service, people may not have been quite as taken back. But instead a little known debit card provider has made the acquisition.
How Can Green Dot Use It? Tech acquisitions are not uncommon, but most have more obvious motives than Green Dot’s purchase of Loopt. How can the debit card provider leverage technology like Loopt?
With a slightly deeper look though, it looks like it could make sense. With Google Wallet and similar mobile wallet services becoming popular, Green Dot may be looking to strengthen it’s play at the world of prepaid mobile debit cards in the near future. And because Loopt was one of the original location-based services, it holds a number of important mobile marketing patents that could be used as an advantage, particularly in developing customer retention programs that are already built in to Loopt.
While acquiring Loopt does not transform Green Dot into a game changer by any means, it shows a forward thinking attitude when it comes to the future of mobile payments. Look out for how they may use the location-based service in the next few years, especially since they are retaining core employees on the Loopt team.
Around the Hub: Gronking the Madden Cover Curse
If you are unfamiliar with the “Madden Cover Curse” then it may sound somewhat silly – why would a pro-football player NOT want to be on the cover of one of the most popular video games of all time? Because almost every single player who has graced the cover of the franchise that has generated over $3 billion in sales has had some bad fortune the following year. From season ending injuries to career-worst years, players seem unable to escape the curse.
And here is where it gets really interesting. The player on the cover is decided by an online vote, meaning players can campaign for themselves to win. The curse has stopped most players from going out of their way to get put on the cover, but fortunately for Pats fans, Gronk is not like most players. He spikes a football that hits the ground with force of 650 pounds. He runs over defenders like they are bowling balls. He also campaigns himself to get onto the Madden cover with a hilarious video featuring his brothers (one of which is also a professional football player).
The beauty of his video is it is as low value as it gets. All he uses is a using a flip cam, his parents living room and his brothers. They didn’t even bother to get real props, just his crutch and some plastic bags – all of this makes it even better.
We certainly hope this gets him onto the cover just so he can defy the curse!
Let us know what you think about this week’s 451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.